Alex Tan, 30, is a National Serviceman (NSman) with the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)
. He chose to develop his career with the Home Team, and to contribute to Singapore’s safety in ways beyond his NS obligations. We speak to him about his unwavering commitment to keeping Singapore safe and secure.
How was your experience as a National Serviceman Full-time (NSF)?
I commenced my NS obligations as a Singapore Armed Forces recruit back in 2008 after completing my polytechnic studies. Shortly after Basic Military Training, I was posted to the SCDF. It proved to be a very memorable period in my life as I had the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life. This made me realise that it didn’t matter what our backgrounds were, and that our eclectic mix of talents and strengths can add value to rescue and fire-fighting operations.
Alex began his NS journey in 2008 and has been with the HT since – in his capacity as an SCDF NSman and an MHA officer. PHOTO: Muhamad Khair
Once, during my cadet trainee days, a lorry transporting workers crashed into a tree right outside the Civil Defence Academy. It was at night and the situation was quite chaotic, as there were injured workers and a growing crowd of onlookers. My batch-mates and I spontaneously ran out to offer support, tending to injuries and managing the crowd before the first responder units arrived. Such moments during my NS days taught me values that I hold dear to this day – brotherhood, teamwork, mental resilience and discipline.
How have you grown since transitioning from an NSF to an NSman?
After completing my university studies, I returned as an NSman to serve as a Platoon Commander (PC) with the 42B Rescue Battalion (RBn) for two years. During my PC term, I successfully led my platoon to complete various rescue missions at the company and battalion levels.
Now that I’ve assumed the role of Head (Personnel) of a newly-formed battalion, 42C RBn, I’ll be looking at operations from a different perspective and working to ensure our operational readiness for mobilisation deployment and exercises. I look forward to this new challenge, though, I’ll miss working alongside fellow rescuers on rescue missions!
What motivated you to choose to be a Home Team officer, and what inspires you to keep serving?
I’m currently a Home Affairs Senior Executive (HASE) officer
with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)
. What appealed to me about the HASE scheme is that it allows for job rotations across the Home Team. I already have a strong affinity for the Home Team so the HASE scheme was a good fit for me.
I started off doing preventive drug education work at the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB)
and am now with the Joint Operations Group at MHA where I oversee border security operations and policy issues. The work is dynamic and challenging, and I get a sense of satisfaction from helping to address existing or emerging security risks. Whether I’m in uniform or not, I guess you could say that I’m constantly looking to keep Singapore safe and secure!
What helps me to juggle my career and NS commitments is the support of my bosses and colleagues, especially when I get recalled for In-Camp Training. This is very reassuring as it allows me to discharge my NS duties with confidence.
A Career in the Home Team
If you’re keen to learn more about careers with the Home Team, visit the MHA website